Want a successful job search? Get the right headspace


Job-hunting will take longer than you would like. The culprit is not necessarily you, but the current recruitment system that is flawed. With the advent of job boards, your competition has increased a thousand fold, as it is so easy for anyone to apply for a job. Employers are also automating the recruitment process, which is why it is so impersonal and harder to succeed. In fact SEEK noted that 75% of Australians who are currently searching for a new job, have been looking for up to six months.

So in order to not only survive a job search, but also have a successful job search, you need the right headspace.

Understand that job hunting is not always easy

When you start a job-search process, you must embrace two key facts about the job-search process:

  1. It is not always the best qualified who will win the position;
  2. Rejection, or not hearing back from recruiters and employers is a fact of life and will happen dozens if not hundreds of times.

Once you accept the system is broken and that the overwhelming majority of job seekers will encounter barriers, than you will be less likely to take it personally. Not taking it personally can be difficult, but if you detach yourself from the emotion of the process, you will understand that rejection is just part and parcel of the job-search process and not wallow in self-pity.

Build Resilience

Once you have accepted that job hunting is not always easy – then you need to put in place a framework to help you cope with any rejection. My suggestions:

Don’t Personalise the Journey

As suggested above, don’t personalise the experience, EVER!

Focus on prior accomplishments and successes.

As a start-up Founder, I’ve experienced more rejection, than I care to share, but I have a list pinned to my board that outlines 3 very personal experiences in which I succeeded, including: (1) Overcoming the odds when I moved from being a dental assistant to working in a top tier law firm. (2) When I helped rescue my partner with no outside assistance from altitude sickness in Nepal and (3) Navigating the Mekong River. Now these successes have nothing to do with my start-up, but they were all times where I was out of my comfort zone or I succeeded against the odds. This gives me the confidence to constantly move forward.

This tactic works, so go back and think about the times you succeeded and make sure you read this list everyday.

Stay Connected with Positive People

Initially getting sympathy back from people about how tough and awful your job search is will be cathartic. However, in the long run, this negativity won’t solve your problem. Instead surround yourself with positive and optimistic people and spend a lot of time with them. While your job search journey won’t necessarily be easy, if you are positive and connect with positive people that don’t dwell on the negative, you are less likely to get pessimistic and give up and instead move forward with confidence.

Take action everyday

Having a job search goal is the easy part. Taking ACTION everyday is the hard part. You can have the greatest qualifications, credentials and resume in the marketplace, but unless you get out there and put yourself in front of decision makers, follow up with phone calls and recognise that you will face many brick walls, then you won’t succeed.

If you want to have a successful job search:

  • Commit to a job-search campaign and then schedule time to implement the campaign.
  • Stop making excuses and putting the job-search task off. If you think procrastination is the problem, rest assured it isn’t. Procrastination is always the symptom, not the problem! So, if you are procrastinating, you need to get to the root of your procrastination and resolve it.
  • Securing a job is like anything else – it can take time. Even if you are working full time, I’m willing to bet that you have time in the evening. So instead of watching TV, spend that time job-hunting. If you set aside just a few evenings a week, imagine how much progress you could make.

Reward yourself for efforts, not just results

Job-hunting is really unpredictable. Sometimes you will do everything exactly right and still not get the results you want when you want them. Reward yourself for not only the results, but also for the challenging work that leads up to the result, otherwise you might feel as though you aren’t getting anywhere. If you make ten cold calls to HR personnel, then, even if the cold calling did not reap a positive result, reward yourself for the effort anyway.

Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone

Job boards are just so easy – which is why they are so ineffective. You need to stop seeing job boards such as SEEK, or MONSTER as the only avenue available and get your head around the fact that their success rate is very low. In fact less than 5% of people will find their jobs via a job board. So in order to succeed, you are going to have to get out of your comfort zone and start coming up with job search plans and strategies that don’t just involve the job board. These include networking, interacting with REAL people and using alternatives, such as My Career Groove.


Having the right headspace is essential for job search success. You need to understand the reality of the job search, build resilience, take action everyday and step out of your comfort zone.

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